Thread regarding Nordstrom layoffs

Nordstrom’s loss of prestige

When I was at Nordstrom, I can remember the moment when I stopped thinking of Macy’s as a competitor. We had outclassed them as a retailer, with much higher sales per sq ft, a better online and customer experience, and superior integration to the stores. We were selective about where we wanted to do business, and how we wanted to do it. Macy’s was this sprawling mediocre empire of too many middling stores, often run-down and just beat, with terrible customer service and unimpressive sales staff. Nordstrom had its eye on better competition, in specific categories like specialty cosmetics and women’s wear to work, and of course Amazon.

Amazon’s first effort at higher end fashion was a direct copy of the LAF of the Nordstrom store site. And let’s not forget that their initial break with Nordstrom was their purchase of Zappos, a very pointed direct threat. Forget Macy’s, they no longer mattered to us in the new world. We spoke of Amazon as a threat and a peer.

It was clear that Amazon had been studying us, learning and imitating us. If they were to beat us, we wondered if Amazon wouldn’t just acquire Nordstrom like they did Whole Foods, because we would be a great prize and asset to them.

I doubt that anyone at Amazon thinks this any more, regards Nordstrom as any kind of competitive peer, or sees it as an asset worth acquiring. They instead see the overhead and accelerated failure of the brick-and-mortar retail model, validating their direct logistical partnership approach with fashion labels. They no longer take Nordstrom seriously because it is hardly a threat to them.

Nordstrom is operating like a dotcom, unprofitable, thinking in term of cash burn and keeping all options open, even extreme measures. Nordstrom has been removed from the S&P 500, meaning they are no longer considered a first-tier retailer in the US, and losing the support of such status directly and indirectly such as through index funds and the SPY ETF.

Amazon passed on Barneys, and JCP, and Lord & Taylor, and Macy’s, and whatever’s left of Saks and Needless Markup and I Magnin and the rest. Why would Nordstrom ever expect anything but the same indifference as they wind down? Why should we feel any different? It’s a shame to lose a grand old retailer, a good company, sure, but it’s hardly the end of the world. Who but the employees cried over Stein Mart?

Nordstrom has lost its special status and is just another corporation to us. Seattle could not even protect its flagship store from being violated by looters, just like Chicago could not do the same for the Macy’s that was once Marshall Field’s. Nordstrom is a nice-to-have, but the world will go on just fine without it.

And this prestige is lost from all levels of the business. If there is to be a bankruptcy filing and a fundamental restructuring of the company, if this actually happens, the perks and niceties of the new company go right out the window. Would they need a CTO? Principal engineers and other overbaked titles? Senior staff everything. Or instead a radically simplified, functionally designed, flat as heck organization?

You can’t really think of yourselves as special any more. The company is just schlepping along trying to survive like the rest of us. And to promote yourselves now, to market high-end designer anything in such a difficult time, feels perverse. How many of you have visited Nieman Marcus lately to see all the inane, stupid high-end SKUs offered for sale there? How sick and insulting, and much of what Nordstrom has is only a notch or two below their mo–nic merch.

You are not a special snowflake. No downtown tech campus for you. I’m sure this is starting to settle in now, but it’s still early and has a long way to go. First let’s see what is in store for Q3/Q4.

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Post ID: @OP+16HYUBAw

6 replies (most recent on top)

Anon, do you believe a great curse or hex was triggered when Blake moved out of the Highlands? There are crows gathered in the trees.

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Post ID: @wivu+16HYUBAw

Talk about lack of prestige - there is a new pilot ongoing where the Racks will resemble a ROSS or a TJ Maxx rather than what Racks usually look like. This makes them look cheap. The higher-ups know something big is coming. The store regional alluded to it but would not specify. I feel bankruptcy is coming in the middle of 2021 if the holiday sales are terrible. Black Friday I am afraid will decide the fate of the store. Black Friday will live up to its original name - if they can't get in the black on this day, i fear 2021 Nordstrom will have no choice but go bankrupt to salvage the name. The brothers should be ashamed.

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Post ID: @vfgh+16HYUBAw

Boy, did you nailed it. Back in the day, it seemed like they struck gold with every new market. But the New York store may be the worst timing in the history of retail. I think I lot us knew that when we lost Blake, we lost the last great visionary with the Nordstrom name.

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Post ID: @1szo+16HYUBAw

But muh share buybacks cancelled. And exit from S&P 500 means that SPY ETF basket demand for passive investing crowd has zero demand for JWN now.

By next year will we see how the store rent crisis works out. No chance to hit 90% levels of 2019 sales, so partial rent demand from Jamie will stand.

Will the landlords sue Nordstrom for the balance? Or write it off and it’s treated like loan forgiveness, like a gift or income?

And does Nordstrom position themselves for wrangling 2021 rent concessions or just nuke it all this year with a chapter 11 reorg?

Will this company exist in five years?

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Post ID: @jap+16HYUBAw

People on Yahoo finance board think JWN will hit $100 a share next year because of no competition...

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Post ID: @wen+16HYUBAw

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